India joined the African Development Bank (AfDB) back in 1983 but it is the first time at India has hosted its annual meeting. The 52nd Annual meeting of the African Development Bank was inaugurated by PM Modi and the meeting hosts AfDB as well as its sister institutions and financial ministers of member countries. This year’s meeting was held at Gandhinagar, Gujarat.

Africa has been the NDA (National Democratic Alliance) government’s top priority in foreign and economic policy matters and that India and Africa stand ‘shoulder to shoulder’ with the continent in its race towards a brighter future. So what is the hype about this meeting? Well, there are more than just one reason. India boycotted China’s Belt and Road Summit held at Beijing recently and in order to develop itself, India is keen to increase its connectivity, infrastructure and developmental projects without involving in the Chinese Silk Road project.

So as an answer to the Silk route summit, Modi stressed on the Asia-Africa Corridor for Africa’s development, which Japan and India will support. This will strengthen Africa and India trade which has already increased manifold in the last 15 years. The five-day event will welcome and host approximately 2800 business delegates from Africa and all other members of the AfDB. This summit will also include 5000 Gujarat-based business executives who will represent industries as far apart as education and mining, health-care/pharmaceuticals and energy.

During the fiscal year 2014-15, the trade between India and Africa has doubled and has reached nearly $72 billion US dollars which has surpassed the commodity trade with USA. ndia’s private sector is also providing an impetus to stronger India-Africa ties, with Africa accounting for nearly one-fifth of Indian overseas direct investments between 1996 and 2016. And in this year’s meeting, India is expected to announce an agreement with the AfDB to route about 20 per cent of the US$ 10 billion that it has set aside for developmental credit to Africa.

Africa may also add up to the India-fostered International Solar Alliance (ISA), as already over a dozen out of ISA’s 24 members are from Africa and 10 more countries are expected to sign the deal in this year’s summit. So those are the many answers to why the Annual Meeting of African Development Bank Summit held at Gandhinagar this year.